WWW Wednesday – 2 November 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham (Trade Paperback)

The Boys from Biloxi Cover

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Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Star Wars - Path of Deceit Cover

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What did you recently finish reading?

Seventeen by John Brownlow (Trade Paperback)

Seventeen Cover

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Warhammer 40,000: The Wraithbone Phoenix by Alec Worley (Audiobook)

The Wraithbone Phoenix Cover

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Desert Star by Michael Connelly

Desert Star Cover

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What do you think you’ll read next?

Firefly: What Makes Us Mighty by M. K. England

Firefly - What Makes Us Mighty Cover

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That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

Seventeen: Last Man Standing by John Brownlow

Seventeen Cover

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (Trade Paperback – 26 July 2022)

Series: Standalone/Book One

Length: 409 pages

My Rating: 4.5. out of 5 stars

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Acclaimed screenwriter John Brownlow presents one of the most entertaining and awesome debuts of 2022 with the compelling action thriller, Seventeen: Last Man Standing.

In the shadowy world of contract killers, assassins, and rogue operatives, the man at the top of the totem pole is simply known by a number.  For over 100 years, these elite assassins have kept the world in order by committing kills for every government, no questions asked.  Sixteen individuals have previously held the title as world’s greatest assassin during this time, and the current holder of the title is Seventeen.  Feared by every killer around the world, Seventeen knows that his career can end at any moment, as it only takes one mistake for an ambitious assassin to take his place and become Eighteen.

After completing a mysterious job in Berlin, Seventeen finds himself at a crossroads, concerned about his future and considering his past.  However, everything is put on hold when his handler gives him startling clues that hint that his predecessor, Sixteen, who had vanished without a trace, is still alive.  The only way for Seventeen to keep his position in the assassination hierarchy is to kill the man who held the title before him, and if he refuses every assassin in the world will be on his back. Tracking Sixteen to a location in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota, Seventeen finds his target hidden in a fortress, and must try to find a way to kill the only assassin the world who might be better than him.

As he plans for what might be his greatest kill, Seventeen finds himself caught between all manner of complications.  Not only is his target near perfectly protected, but he soon finds himself falling for a girl in the local town.  Worse, it appears that his latest job may have been a setup, and now Seventeen finds himself one of the most wanted men in the world.  Caught between his deadly predecessor and every assassin and government agency on the planet, can Seventeen once again prove that he’s the best in the world, or is someone about to take his title and become Eighteen?

Brownlow presents an exciting and captivating read with his debut novel, Seventeen (also titled Seventeen: Last Man Standing), which I had an amazing time reading.  Featuring an action-packed and incredibly fast-paced story, I ended up powering through Seventeen in a bit over a day, and I had a fantastic time doing so.

I absolutely loved Seventeen’s outstanding narrative, which pits rival assassins against each other in an entertaining and impressive fight for survival.  The story is primarily told from the perspective of Seventeen, who is recounting his adventures to the reader.  Starting off with a brutal mass assassination, you quickly get a handle on the protagonist, his skills and his quirky style, as he commits several murders, before getting involved in another job.  From there, he finds himself coerced into finally hunting down and killing his missing predecessor, Sixteen, to secure his reputation.  Forced to find a way around Sixteen’s elaborate security, Seventeen starts to grow close to a woman in the local town, while also considering his future and the potential fallout from his last mission.  At the same time, there are a ton of flashbacks to Seventeen’s tragic past, which show how he became a killer and his road to becoming the world’s top assassin.  Seventeen’s eventual attempt on Sixteen leads to a massive confrontation, where nothing goes the way you think it will.  There are some great confrontations in the second half of the book, and the fights between Sixteen and Seventeen are pretty damn epic.  Throw in some dangerous outside interference and a massive conspiracy, and you are left with an excellent and powerful narrative that you really struggle to put down, even if it is very, very late at night.

Brownlow did a wonderful job setting his story out, and it was designed to keep your constant attention.  I have already talked about how much I enjoyed the fast pace of this book, and there are literally no slow spots during this read as the protagonist is constantly recounting action, spycraft, fun interactions, character development or flashbacks to his tragic past, all of which proves to be extremely entertaining.  The author makes excellent use of a substantial number of shorter chapters, which really helps with the pacing, as you are more likely to decide to keep reading for another chapter when it is only a few pages away.  This, combined with the exceptionally written and highly detailed fight sequences, really keeps your eyes attached to the page.  There are a ton of highly cinematic action scenes in this book, including shootouts, car chases, hand-to-hand fights, and even a bad encounter with a bear, which were very fun to read.  I also loved the fantastic depictions of assassination tradecraft contained within this book, and Brownlow provides an intriguing look at the protagonist’s preparations, as well as the unique methods he uses to find his target.  There are some very fun moments featuring the protagonist’s attempts to get close to Sixteen, and Brownlow writes a very entertaining story around death and assassination.  All this action and quick-paced writing melds well with the author’s excellent sense of humour, and there a ton of great jokes, entertaining observations and unusual situations that add a good comedic edge to much of the book.  These elements, as well as an outstanding central protagonist, really increased my enjoyment of the narrative, and I cannot emphasise enough how quickly I was able to fly through this book.

Finally, I rather enjoyed the fantastic characters contained within this book, as Brownlow writes an excellent story around them.  Naturally, the attention is primarily on the titular Seventeen, who tells most of the story.  Seventeen is a very enjoyable character to follow and I grew attached to him very quickly.  As smooth and talented as any movie assassin or action hero you are likely to find, Brownlow adds in some interesting personality traits that worked really well.  Not only does he have a brilliant sense of humour, which really comes across in the first-person writing style, but there is also a notable bit of weariness at the assassination lifestyle deep within him, which starts to drag at him as the book continues.  Despite a successful life as a killer, he is starting to regret some of his more recent actions, and this change of mindset becomes a key part of his character arc, especially when other dangerous individuals start to sense it.  Brownlow also comes up with a suitably tragic and compelling backstory for Seventeen, which is slowly revealed to the reader as the novel continues.  This backstory was pretty deep and traumatic, and it helps you to bond even more with Seventeen, once you see all the terrible things that drove him into his current career, and these elements really help cement him as an amazing and flawed central protagonist.  Additional characters I need to highlight include Sixteen, who serves as a fantastic foil to Seventeen, especially as he has the veteran instincts and a much more defined sense of cynicism, while also being haunted by the ghosts of his past.  I also deeply enjoyed the female leads of Kat and Barb, who serve an interesting role in the book.  While they are primarily used as damsels in distress for most of the book, Brownlow does add in some fantastic backstory and gives them each their own defining moments, which I enjoyed.  Plus, both are the biggest critics of the two main assassins in this book, and their fun takes on their deadly rivalry are pretty entertaining.  These characters, and more, add a great deal to the plot, and I enjoyed getting to know them here.

Overall, Seventeen was a pretty awesome novel that I had an epic time reading.  John Brownlow’s outstanding debut had all the action, adventure and fun characters you could ask for, and I found Seventeen to be quite an addictive read.  I look forward to seeing what this intriguing new author presents in the future, and I have a feeling that Brownlow is going to be an exciting voice in thriller fiction for years to come.

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WWW Wednesday – 26 October 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Seventeen by John Brownlow (Trade Paperback)

Seventeen Cover

I have just started reading the awesome and very fun thriller novel, Seventeen by new author John Brownlow.  A fast-paced read, Seventeen follows the world’s most lethal assassin who finds himself caught in the crossfire between his deadly predecessor and younger assassins wanting to take his place.  I sped through the first 60 pages of Seventeen in one go and I am already pretty hooked by this cool read.  I will probably knock this off in the next day or so and I think I’ll have a very enjoyable time doing so.

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Warhammer 40,000: The Wraithbone Phoenix by Alec Worley (Audiobook)

The Wraithbone Phoenix Cover

I have been having an absolute blast with my latest exploration of Warhammer 40,000 tie-in fiction, with The Wraithbone Phoenix by Alec Worley.  Part of the Warhammer Crime subseries, The Wraithbone Phoenix follows two criminal abhumans, a ratling and an ogryn, as they attempt to steal their big score, the mysterious missing artefact known as The Wraithbone Phoenix.  However, after a series of misfortunes, every criminal, assassin and treasure hunter on the planet knows what they are after, forcing them to fight through a horde of outrageous assailants.  Naturally, I am having a ton of fun with this impressive Warhammer audiobook, and I look forward to finding out who gets the prize, and which of the many distinctive supporting characters is going to suffer a gruesome death.

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What did you recently finish reading?

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Trade Paperback)

Fairy Tale Cover

I finally managed to finish off the massive new Stephen King novel, Fairy Tale, and it proved to be quite an awesome read.  While a bit long, Fairy Tale had a unique and compelling story that saw a teenage protagonist descend to a fairytale realm, which has been overtaken by dark forces.  A classic adventure story with a compelling setting and Stephen King’s distinctive voice, Fairy Tale was an excellent read and I am glad I spent the time getting through it.

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In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan (Audiobook)

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

I managed to knock off In the Shadow of Lightning a few days ago and boy did Brian McClellan outdo himself with this first book in an awesome new series.  Set in an inventive new fantasy world where all magic is associated with glass, In the Shadow of Lightning provides the reader with a complex and intriguing tale, rich with politics, espionage, action, betrayal and more.  I had such an outstanding time listening to this captivating book and this is easily one of my favourite fantasy books of 2022. Review to follow soon.

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Warhammer 40,000: Dredge Runners by Alec Worley (Audiobook)

Dredge Runners

I was in the mood for something short and sweet at the start of the week, so I quickly checked out the short Warhammer 40,000 audio drama, Dredge Runners.  The audio drama that introduces the protagonists of The Wraithbone Phoenix (which I am currently reading), Dredge Runners was an extremely clever and highly entertaining short that set the two rogues against criminals and corrupt law enforcement in a well-written and brilliantly paced read. Featuring an amazing voice cast, Dredge Runners was an exceptional audio drama that comes highly recommended.

Amazon

What do you think you’ll read next?

Desert Star by Michael Connelly

Desert Star Cover

I have got several awesome books to read at the moment, but I think I’ll dive into the new Michael Connelly crime fiction read, Desert Star, next. Once again bringing together two of Connelly’s impressive protagonists, Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch, Desert Star sees them dive into several intriguing cold cases, including a murder investigation Bosch has been obsessed about for years. I love Connelly’s amazing crime fiction books and this one has a lot of potential to be a great read.  I look forward to checking out in the next few days and I have very high hopes that Desert Star will end up being one of the better crime fiction novels of 2022.

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Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Star Wars - Path of Deceit Cover

My plan after finishing The Wraithbone Phoenix is to start listening to the Path of Deceit audiobook, written by the intriguing team of Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland.  The first entry in the second phase of The High Republic sub-series of Star Wars fiction, Path of Deceit introduces the reader to yet another version of the High Republic, this time in a period of exploration and discovery.  I am quite intrigued to see what is happening at this point in the Star Wars universe and I can’t wait to find out what interesting story Gratton and Ireland have chosen to introduce it to us.

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That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

WWW Wednesday – 19 October 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

I didn’t make as much progress with my reading this week as I would have liked, mainly because the two books I was reading last Wednesday are so damn long, and it is taking me time to get through them.  Still, both are pretty exceptional, so I am happy enough taking my time reading them.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Trade Paperback)

Fairy Tale Cover

I am still going with the intriguing new Stephen King novel, Fairy Tale, which is so far proving to be quite an impressive read.  Fairy Tale is an intense coming of age story that follows a teenage protagonist and his dog as they venture into a dangerous and mysterious fairy realm.  I have really got caught up in this book, and while it is taking me a little while to get through it, Fairy Tale is an exceptional and captivating read that is really worth checking out.

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In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan (Audiobook)

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

I am also still getting through In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan, and I am just a bit over halfway through the audiobook version of it at the moment.  I am really regretting not listening to this outstanding book sooner as it is proving to be quite an epic read.  While I knew I would probably have a great time with this novel, especially after how impressive his previous book, Promise of Blood turned out, I am still blown away by how compelling and addictive In the Shadow of Lightning is.  Set in a new fantasy realm where magic is contained in glass, In the Shadow of Lightning has a great blend of intrigue, politics, action and character development, and I am absolutely loving this book, especially with all the unique fantasy features McClellan has come up with.  I can’t wait to see how this book comes to an end, but this is already one of my top fantasy books of 2022.

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What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing to add in here, hopefully I’ll have a few books finished off by this time next week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Seventeen by John Brownlow

Seventeen Cover

My plan, after I get through the massive brick that is Fairy Tale, is to dive into some of the intriguing thrillers I have sitting in my to-read pile.  The first one of these that I need to check out is the compelling debut, Seventeen by John Brownlow.  Set to feature a bunch of awesome assassin characters duking it out, Seventeen sounds pretty incredible and I look forward to seeing what happens in it.

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That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

WWW Wednesday – 12 October 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Trade Paperback)

Fairy Tale Cover

I just started reading the new Stephen King novel, Fairy Tale, today, which is so far proving to be quite an impressive read.  An intense coming of age story that will see its teenage protagonist and his dog venture into a dangerous fairy realm, this book is pretty awesome so far and I am quite intrigued to see how this entire novel unfolds.

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In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan (Audiobook)

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

I had several awesome audiobooks to start up this week, but in the end I went with In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan, mainly because of how much I enjoyed his previous book, Promise of Blood.  I have made a fair bit of progress on this audiobook already and it is proving to be just as epic as I thought it would be.  Set in a new fantasy realm where magic is contained in glass, In the Shadow of Lightning has a great blend of intrigue, politics, action and character development, and I am already very hooked.  I can’t wait to see how this book continues and at the rate I’m going with it, I’ll probably finish it off by this time next week.

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What did you recently finish reading?

Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis (Trade Paperback)

Star Wars - The Princess and the Scoundrel Cover

An excellent Star Wars novel that did a wonderful job capturing the romance between Han Solo and Princess Leia.  I deeply enjoyed this cool book and it ended up being quite an intriguing read.

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Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill (Audiobook)

Storm of Iron Cover

This has to have been one of the better Warhammer 40,000 novels I have read recently, especially as it had a brilliant and dark story to it.  Depicting a massive siege of formidable fortress, this was a very exciting book, and I loved the cool directions that McNeill took the story. I am hoping to get a review up for this soon in a Throwback Thursday article, but this is a must-read for all Warhammer fans. 

Amazon

What do you think you’ll read next?

Seventeen by John Brownlow

Seventeen Cover

My plan, after I get through the massive brick that is Fairy Tale, is to dive into some of the intriguing thrillers I have sitting in my to-read pile.  The first one of these that I need to check out is the compelling debut, Seventeen by John Brownlow.  Set to feature a bunch of awesome assassin characters duking it out, Seventeen sounds pretty incredible and I look forward to seeing what happens in it.

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That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on My Winter 2022 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week was around comfort reads, however, I decided to instead move up my quarterly post about the best upcoming books to read (TBR) for the following three months.  This is a regular post I do at the start of each season, and as this Tuesday is just before Winter (Summer for folks in the Northern Hemisphere), this is the ideal time to put this up.

For this list, I have come up with 10 of the most anticipated novels that are coming out between 1 June 2022 and 31 August 2022.  There are quite a few very cool novels set for release in the next few months that I am extremely excited for, including some of my most anticipated books and fantasy novels of the year.  Due to how impressive some of these upcoming books are, it took me a little while to finalise my list but I was eventually able to whittle it down into a Top Ten list (with a few honourable mentions).  I have primarily used the Australian publication dates to reflect when I will be able to get these awesome novels, and these might be somewhat different to the rest of the world.  I have previously discussed a number of these books before in prior Top Ten Tuesdays and Waiting on Wednesday articles and I think all of them will turn out to be pretty incredible reads.  I have extremely excited for the next three months as quite a few up these upcoming reads are easily going to be amongst the best books of 2022.

Honourable Mentions:

Firefly: What Makes Us Mighty by M. K. England – 19 July 2022

Firefly - What Makes Us Mighty Cover

Another awesome tie-in to the beloved Firefly franchise, What Makes Us Mighty is England’s first entry in this series and will see the crew stuck amid a deadly revolution.  This sounds like an exciting and fun read that I will no doubt have a blast with.

 

Seventeen: Last Man Standing by John Brownlow – 26 July 2022

Seventeen Cover

 

The Pride by Tony Park – 26 July 2022

The Pride Cover

Australia’s leading thriller author, Tony Park, returns with another intense and action-packed adventure set in Africa with The Pride.  This time his recurring protagonist, Sonja Kurtz, must contend with gangsters and poachers across multiple countries as she finds herself dragged into another deadly conspiracy.  Easily going to be one of the best Australia novels of 2022, I am extremely excited for this book.

 

Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis – 16 August 2022

Star Wars - The Princess and the Scoundrel Cover

Top Ten List:

Master of Furies by Raymond E. Feist – 1 June 2022

Master of Furies Cover

 

The Omega Factor by Steve Berry – 7 June 2022

The Omega Factor Cover

 

In the Shadow of Lighting by Brian McClellan – 21 June 2022

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

 

The Martyr by Anthony Ryan – 28 June 2022

The Martyr Cover

 

Upgrade by Blake Crouch – 12 July 2022

Upgrade Cover

One of the leading names in science fiction, Blake Crouch, will soon unleash his next mind bending, futuristic thriller with Upgrade, sure to be one of the best books of the year.  Crouch’s latest novel will deal with genetic manipulation as a new protagonist finds himself being upgraded against his will as he is dragged into a terrible, world-ending plot.  I have some major hopes for this book, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

 

Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher – 19 July 2022

Shadow of the Sith Cover

 

The Accomplice by Steve Cavanagh – 26 July 2022

The Accomplice Cover

 

Glacier’s Edge by R. A. Salvatore – 9 August 2022

Glacier's Edge Cover

 

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin – 16 August 2022

Stay Awake Cover

 

All of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and Christine Herman – 30 August 2022

All of Our Demise Cover

 

 

Well, that is the end of my Top Ten list.  I think it turned out pretty well and it does a good job of capturing all my most anticipated books for the next three months.  Each of the above should be extremely epic, and I cannot wait to read each of them soon.  Let me know which of the above you are most excited for and stay tuned for reviews of them in the next few months.  In the meantime, it looks like I have quite a few books to get through soon and they should all be pretty awesome.

Waiting on Wednesday – Seventeen by John Brownlow

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  For this week’s Waiting on Wednesday I look at a very cool sounding upcoming thriller that I predict is going to be buckets of epic fun with Seventeen by John Brownlow.

Seventeen Cover

Here at the Unseen Library, I have developed a real appreciation for the most awesome and unique sounding thriller novels out there and I have just discovered one upcoming book that I think fits that description perfectly with Seventeen.  Also known as Seventeen: Last Man Standing, this book is the debut novel of John Brownlow, a screenwriter known for working on films like Sylvia and television series such as Fleming and The Miniaturist.  Well Brownlow appears ready to make a jump to the literary world here with Seventeen, and I am for one am very excited for it.

The intriguing and fun sounding Seventeen is currently set for release down here in Australia in July 2022, and I am deeply impressed with the amazing and entertaining synopsis.  Set in a world where a secretive group of hidden killers keep the world safe through their political assassinations, the novel follows an assassin, known simply as 17, who strives to become the best killer on the planet by killing the current top contender, 16.  However, another assassin, 18, is chasing the same goal, and will stop at nothing to hunt down and kill our protagonist.  This novel sounds so freaking awesome to me and I cannot wait to see how the intense and epic Seventeen turns out.

Synopsis:

YOU’LL NEVER KNOW MY NAME.
BUT YOU WON’T FORGET MY NUMBER.

Behind the events you know are the killers you don’t.
When diplomacy fails, we’re the ones who gear up.
Officially we don’t exist, but every government in the world uses our services.
We’ve been saving the world, and your ass, for 100 years.

Sixteen people have done this job before me.
I am 17. The most feared assassin in the world.
But to be the best you must beat the best.
My next target is 16, just as one day 18 will hunt me down.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world and it gets lonely at the top.
Nobody gets to stay for long.
But while we’re here, all that matters is that we win.

Visceral, cinematic and insanely addictive, 17 will keep you on the edge of your seat and live long in the memory. Until 18 comes along …